That dreaded word to the majority of kitchen workers, inventory. This is a much needed restaurant process and important to a multitude of areas within an operations profitability. Most kitchen folks hate the idea of doing inventory but if you are a stakeholder in a restaurant you need to stress the importance to those involved to be part of this process.
Why is inventory so very important? There are many reasons that it is important to take inventory – accurate food costs, internal fraud reduction, food specification consistency, pricing controls, quality control with FIFO rotation, vendor order ease & accuracy and ultimately profitability.
There are some critical components to the inventory process that can help with the process.
*Accurate inventory worksheets. These list should be everything that you buy and have the latest values of each item on them. These should be easily attained from your vendor in Excel spreadsheet format.
*Accurate ways to count each item. There are many variables on how to count each item. Make sure to be specific on how you are going to count each item, by the case, the pound, the unit and so on. This should be set to maximize the most accurate way to count as well as the most efficient way to count them.
*Get your inventory areas set up and organized.
*Have the same person take inventory. Less chance for errors. Maybe create an incentive for your inventory manager.
*Set up your frequency of inventory – daily for high cost, perishable items (steaks, seafood, etc), weekly (this would assist with ordering and fraud protection) and then of course monthly. I would always recommend taking inventory monthly at the very least. Taking inventory annually for tax purposes does not do much good to monitor your food cost.
Back to the original question, do I have to count everything? Well, the answer is yes if you want to have an accurate food cost. So that means counting all your back stock at the end of a business day so that nothing goes in (receiving) and nothing goes out. That is where open stock comes in. Everything gets counted and that includes the open stock with in the kitchen line area, prep area and waitress areas.
The takeaway, get organized, get motivated and get counting, accurately of course, to help your operation to better cost control and profitability. Get with me about how I can assist you with this process and get your inventory on track and where you want it to be. Should I say where you need it to be.